ProWIN September Luncheon Synopsis: The Economic Impact of the Entertainment Industry in Georgia

Tammy Hurt – As a professional drummer for 25 years, Tammy is a musician first and foremost. She wants Georgia to become more of a music industry hub. Tammy recognizes that talent leaves Georgia for cities like Nashville and Austin. She met with Governor Nathan Deal to find ways to promote the music industry in Georgia, including tax incentives. Georgia has strong gaming, e-sports and film industries and music is needed in all of them. It makes sense to have it all in the state of Georgia because music touches everything.

The music industry brings many jobs with it. Every time you see five people performing on a stage, there are thirty or more people behind the scenes. When Taylor Swift travels she points out the semi-trucks, sound people, lighting crew and others that are employed. In addition to those working directly with the musicians, there are those who work at the venue such as food service. Plus, there are outside jobs such as transportation and security. The music industry has an entire ecosystem in the workforce.

“We have talent in Georgia that is underutilized. For example, we have a twenty-seven-time Grammy-winning orchestra. That orchestra could be recording music for everything from gaming to films.”

Shay Bentley Griffin– Shay started as a talent agent traveling to Los Angeles and became a casting director. She helps actors put careers into place. Shay worked on Governor Sonny Perdue’s advisory commission for bringing the film industry to Georgia. Her group overcame Governor Perdue’s resistance to tax incentives by showing him that the film industry would provide jobs for Georgians and promote Georgia to the world. They created the peach we see at the end of films produced in Georgia.

Her goal is for Georgia to have the ability to create its own content. “If we don’t have the ability to develop our own content, we will always be dependent on filmmakers choosing Georgia. To find a way to develop projects here, we need investors.”

Lee Thomas – Lee Thomas started the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office (a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development) and is the Deputy Commissioner. Her office reads scripts, breaks them down and takes filmmakers to suitable locations for creating the film.

The entertainment industry in Georgia has grown from 241 million dollars in 2007 to a multi-billion dollar industry and continues to be one of the leading destinations for filming in the world with the film industry supporting approx. 92,000 jobs in Georgia. On average, eighty-five percent of people employed are Georgians when movies are filmed here. Each time Marvel comes, they employee more Georgians because our industry is becoming more technologically advanced.

Governor Nathan Deal supported a career initiative in the film industry. We now have the Georgia Film Academy which has trained 6000 students. The curriculum takes less than a year, is offered in 21 state schools and is for all ages. Jobs include everything that supports the film industry such as electricians, construction, painters, landscaping, production, accounting, voice-over, camera work, floral, welders and more.

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Be sure to join us for our next luncheon in November for 3 Steps to Unleash Your Productivity Potential in the Workplace hosted by Wendy Ellin. Non-members are welcome – it is a wonderful way to learn about all the benefits of ProWIN.
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